Protect yourself

March 30, 2015

By Eric Holtzclaw via   Article

How to Protect Yourself from Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly’s Fate

“Let’s face it, every one of us has been caught up in the moment and claimed an event, an experience or an accomplishment was greater than it really was. That customer contract was for more than you really sold it for, the experience at the restaurant was your worst ever, or you were the greatest player on your college football team.

In recent weeks, we have witnessed this happening often in the news and it has brought down the credibility of some very notable individuals. First it was Brian Williams, followed by Bill O’Reilly. Both newsmen allegedly embellished the truth about their previous conflict reporting. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized on Monday for lying about serving in the Army’s Special Forces.

What happens if you misstep and make something bigger (or worse) than it really was?  How can you protect yourself from a similar fate? …

The best rule of thumb is to admit your exaggeration as soon as possible.

Far better to face the discomfort of making a correction before someone else finds it on their own. This takes a great level of humility and self-awareness, but the end result will be an increased level of respect from those around you. Your employees, customers and colleagues want to follow someone who is authentic and real. …

It’s likely that others may already be talking about your indiscretion without your knowledge, and the back channel can be as damaging to your career and future endeavors as any public outing might be.

One of my client companies was run by an executive who constantly stretched the truth. She knows everyone, has done everything has lived or visited any place you could think to mention. Regrettably, everyone around her knows she is stretching the truth.

Because none of her employees can trust her to tell the truth in the unimportant things, they don’t believe her when she talks about the really important things – like raises and company stability. This has created a situation of heavy turnover for her and it holds her back from developing authentic relationships with her peers. This has created a situation of heavy turnover for her and it holds her back from developing authentic relationships with her peers.”



Dare greatly

March 30, 2015

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


The upside and the down

March 30, 2015

By Fred Taylor and Charles Farrell via   Article

The currency game

“You have been hearing a lot more about the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies for some time. The U.S. dollar has risen 15 percent against the Euro in the past 12 months Today, a U.S. dollar is equivalent to .87 Euros and a Euro will buy 1.13 U.S. dollars. A few years ago, the Euro traded at E$ 1.58 and the dollar only bought .63 Euros. Other European currencies have also been hurt, including the Russian Ruble, which dropped 41 percent this year, making it one of the worst currencies in the world after the Hryvnia in Ukraine.

There are a few reasons for the dollar’s rise. First, the U.S. economy appears to have the most momentum compared to other world economies and signs point to continued positive growth. GDP growth in the U.S. is 2.6 percent and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.7 percent in January. In comparison, Europe is still on the verge of a recession and unemployment is well over 10 percent. U.S. interest rates, while low, also offer more yield than investors can find overseas. A reduction in the trade deficit because of the 50 percent correction in oil prices has also been a big factor. …

There are some benefits to having a strong dollar. A nation with a solid currency attracts more foreign capital. One of the main reasons the American stock and bond markets have been so strong since the financial crisis is simply because foreigners want to invest in the safest and most productive country and America has been just that. …

Of course, there are also disadvantages to the dollar’s increasing value. For large U.S. companies that derive any earnings from abroad, a strong U.S. dollar will hurt their bottom line. In the most recent quarter, many multi-national companies based in the U.S. have warned that their future earnings will be negatively impacted by a stronger currency. However, we view the strong U.S. dollar as a temporary setback to earnings. Once this piece of news is factored into stock prices, investors will discount the currency piece and look forward at the quality of earnings in terms of future sales and revenue growth.”



The rule of three

March 30, 2015

By  via

“The Rule of 3 is a magical rule for SIMPLICITY.

As human beings, we’re wired to understand, internalize, and remember threes. Politicians know this, as does the media. Neuroscience tells us that the brain actually finds harmony in threes.

One is lonely (no choice.)Two creates an either/or conflict. (Sophie’s Choice, anyone?)Not only is Three just right (thank you, Goldilocks) but anything more than three is too complex!

Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less tells us stories of engagement DECREASING proportionate to MORE choice.

Look around:

Three-Act Plays. The first act sets up the story, the second act creates conflict, and the third act is the resolution.The Holy Trinity.Pyramids. An ancient symbol for strength.

Think BIG! Build SIMPLE! Act NOW! (Can you feel the cadence?!?!)

Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

You can use the Rule of 3 to simplify EVERYTHING you do and how you communicate:

If there are 20 points you want to make about why you exist, you need to frame them up under 3 storylines.If you have 7 programs, you need to package those into 3 funding priorities, such as:

People, Programs, Places.
Students, Teachers, Campus.
Read-Aloud Programs, Family Literacy, Teen Intervention.

If someone asks you a complex question, you can respond by saying, “I can answer that with these 3 things…”

If someone asks you, ‘How can I help?’, you can answer by saying, ‘We ask everyone for 3 things:

To be a Champion for our cause,
To Invite others to be engaged,
and to make an Investment in our Impact.'”

Antifragile: A definition

March 23, 2015


“The classic example of something antifragile is Hydra, the greek mythological creature that has numerous heads. When one is cut off, two grow back in its place.

From Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder:

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure , risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. This property is behind everything that has changed with time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, corporate survival, good recipes (say, chicken soup or steak tartare with a drop of cognac), the rise of cities, cultures, legal systems, equatorial forests, bacterial resistance … even our own existence as a species on this planet. And antifragility determines the boundary between what is living and organic (or complex), say, the human body, and what is inert, say, a physical object like the stapler on your desk.

… I’d rather be dumb and antifragile than extremely smart and fragile, any time.

It is easy to see things around us that like a measure of stressors and volatility: economic systems , your body, your nutrition (diabetes and many similar modern ailments seem to be associated with a lack of randomness in feeding and the absence of the stressor of occasional starvation), your psyche. There are even financial contracts that are antifragile: they are explicitly designed to benefit from market volatility.

Antifragility makes us understand fragility better. Just as we cannot improve health without reducing disease, or increase wealth without first decreasing losses, antifragility and fragility are degrees on a spectrum.”

Don’t build the next Fisher Space Pen

March 23, 2015

By Pascal Finette via   Article

Focus On The Problem (or: Don’t Built The Next Fisher Space Pen)

“You might have heard the story of the Fisher Space Pen (also known as the Zero Gravity Pen) – legend has it that it cost millions of dollars and years to develop the a pen which works in zero gravity (and thus for the use by astronauts). The Russians meanwhile took the pragmatic approach and simply used pencils.

Great story – but mostly not true (thank god for Wikipedia – destroyer of urban myths).

There is a lesson in the story though (regardless if the story is true or not): Always, always, always start with the problem and stay with the problem.

Entrepreneurs typically start with a problem they want to solve (in the case of the Space Pen: How do we write in zero gravity?) but sometimes forget to stay with that problem throughout the process. Instead they go get lost in technical solutions, design masturbations or simply get carried away by feature creep. And end up designing something which might solve the problem but is far removed from the market (and thus doesn’t sell).

Figure out what the pencil-equivalent is to your Space Pen and you’re on the right path!”

Goals are for losers

March 23, 2015

By Belle Beth Cooper via   Article

Goals are for losers: Why you should be building habits and systems instead

“A system is a process you follow. It’s repeatable, and it leads to the same (or similar) results each time. It can take time to develop a system, but in doing so you’ll learn a ton about getting the results you want.

A system could be your exercise plan, your writing schedule, or your process of learning new skills regularly.

A habit is a repeatable action. It’s something you do without thinking about it—unlike a system, which could be a series of actions you take, like an exercise plan that incorporates running, gym, and rest days.

A habit could be eating cereal for breakfast, running every morning, or reading before you go to sleep.

Habits and systems have an important thing in common: they’re repeatable. When you’re working on building a habit or developing a system, you focus on what you do each day, not a far-off goal.

As James Clear says:

‘When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.’

Perhaps my favorite reason for focusing on systems and habits over goals is that they give you control. I know from experience that when I set a goal I can’t control, like getting a particular job or improving sales for my business, I feel frustrated and disappointed when I don’t ‘complete’ that goal.

But aiming for a goal you don’t control doesn’t make any sense: you can’t achieve something that’s out of your hands.

What you can do is work hard on your job application, build your network, do more sales calls—habits and systems are controllable, repeatable actions that will lead to improvements over time.”